Eastern rim of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater: Morphology, stratigraphy, and structure
This study reexamines seven reprocessed (increased vertical exaggeration) seismic reflection profiles that cross the eastern rim of the Chesapeake Bay impact crater. The eastern rim is expressed as an arcuate ridge that borders the crater in a fashion typical of the “raised” rim documented in many well preserved complex impact craters. The inner boundary of the eastern rim (rim wall) is formed by a series of crater-facing, steep scarps, 15–60 m high. In combination, these rim-wall scarps represent the footwalls of a system of crater-encircling normal faults, which are downthrown toward the crater. Outboard of the rim wall are several additional normal-fault blocks, whose bounding faults trend approximately parallel to the rim wall. The tops of the outboard fault blocks form two distinct, parallel, flat or gently sloping, terraces. The innermost terrace (Terrace 1) can be identified on each profile, but Terrace 2 is only sporadically present. The terraced fault blocks are composed mainly of nonmarine, poorly to moderately consolidated, siliciclastic sediments, belonging to the Lower Cretaceous Potomac Formation. Though the ridge-forming geometry of the eastern rim gives the appearance of a raised compressional feature, no compelling evidence of compressive forces is evident in the profiles studied. The structural mode, instead, is that of extension, with the clear dominance of normal faulting as the extensional mechanism.